Canarian envite

El Canarian Envite is the Canarian card game par excellence. It is very popular on the Canary Islands and there is sure to be an Envite tournament during every local holiday.

Canarian envite deck

Origin and History

As far as we know, there is no study that conclusively shows how Envite came about on the Canary Islands. Due to its striking similarity to Mus (although with notable differences), some say that when Mus became popular it reached the islands, creating this variation of the game, however, that would play down the importance of Envite and it is not our place to deny its originality . Indeed, in both games the members of each of the two teams exchange sneaky signals, in both bets are made, and points or stones are won, nonetheless the characteristics of the game are very different.

Envite uses the Spanish card deck and can be played by up to twelve players in teams of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 people, with the value of the cards varying depending on the number of players. The aim of the game is to try to win two of the three hands. By winning two hands, two stones are won. With 12 stones a “chico” is won, the winner of the game is the one who wins three chicos or two of three chicos, depending on how it is played.

Position of the players

As it is a team game, players are seated alternately. One player per team captains the game for their team.


The deck is shuffled, cut and 3 cards at a time are dealt out in an anti-clockwise direction. When the dealer deals three cards to themself, the next card in the deck, will be “La Vira” (trump), which is placed face up. The cards of this same suit are called “de la virado” (trump cards). The player to the right of the dealer starts the game. Three hands are played, the team that wins two of the three hands wins the round and two stones. The cards of this same suit are called “chilasco” or “de la virado” (trump cards).

The bet

By betting this challenges the opposing team to risk four stones instead of two. By betting one of three things can happen:

  • The opponent does not accept, with the team that bets winning two stones
  • The opponent accepts the bet and plays for four stones
  • The opponent accepts and raises the bet to seven

If seven is bet, this can be accepted, raised to nine, or passed The next bet is the “chico fuera”, where whoever wins gets a “chico”

Value of the cards

The value of the cards depends on the number of players per team. Here, we list them from highest to lowest.

In the case of a two player team:

  • Mala or malilla which is the Deuce of trumps
  • King of trumps
  • Knight of trumps
  • Jack of trumps
  • Ace of trumps
  • Seven, six, five, four and three…

In the case of a three player team:

  • Three of clubs
  • Knight of clubs
  • Perica, which is the Jack of coins
  • Mala or Malilla which is the Deuce of trumps
  • King, knight, jack, ace…

In the case of a four player team the values are:

  • Five of coins
  • Three of clubs
  • Knight of clubs
  • Jack of coins
  • Deuce of trumps
Canarian envite Card Value
Canarian envite play

In the case of a five player team the values are:

  • Deuce of coins
  • Five of coins
  • Three of clubs
  • Knight of clubs
  • Jack of coins
  • Deuce of trumps…

In the case of a six player team the values are:

  • Ace of coins
  • Deuce of coins
  • Five of coins
  • Three of clubs
  • Knight of clubs
  • Jack of coins
  • Deuce of trumps…

Ranked after the trump cards are the cards of the suit played in that hand. E.g., if coins are trumps and the hand is played with cups, cups beat swords and clubs, but not coins. The values of the cards that are not trumps are: king, knight, jack, ace, seven, six, five, four, three and deuce. The “de lo virado” (trump) cards are called “Chilasco”.

Ranked after the “Chilascos”, the value of the next card depends on how the “hand” is played. E.g., if cups are trumps and the hand is played with coins, coins beat the other suits (swords and clubs) but not cups.


If the lead player opens with a “de lo virado” or trump card, they are said to be “arrastrando” (trawling) The other players have to follow the trawl by playing a “Chilasco” or trump card. The only card that is not trawled is the highest card in the game (three of clubs with 3 player teams or the “Malilla” with 2 player teams). If a player cannot follow the trawl they can “Renege”.


If a player cannot follow the trawl or sees an opponents cards, they can “Renege” or “Renege Four”. The team that does this wins four stones.

Lying down

You are said to be lying down when you have eleven stones. If a team has ten stones and wins two more, instead of having twelve it has eleven, because one is subtracted for passing through eleven stones. The same happens if a team had eight stones and wins a bet, it stays at eleven stones, not twelve.

While one of the teams is lying down this team cannot bet. If a bet is made, a renege can be made and a “chico” is won if the team that reneged is the one that was lying down or score four stones if the one that reneged was from the other team. The one who decides whether to lie down or not is the team that is lying down. If they pass and do not lie down, the opponent takes a stone, if they lie down and lose, the opponent wins three points and if they win while lying down thy win a “chico”. Forced lying down: if the two teams both have eleven stones, then forced lying down comes into play, as it is compulsory to lie down inorder to finish the “chico”.

How to “Arrayar” (score)

Arrayar is to score a point To do this, stones, chickpeas, beans or similar counters are needed, scoring in the following way:

1 point One stone
2 points Two stones, and so on up to six
7 points A single stone
8 points Two separate stones
9 points Three separate stones
10 points One stone
11 points “Lying down”, no stone

Variations of the game depending on the island

Not all of the Canary islands play the same. Here we present the most interesting versions. If you know another variation we would appreciate it if you could email it to us so we can update these rules.

Envite on Gran Canaria: A different scoring system is used, i.e, “Chicos” are played at seven or eight stones. Instead of playing in steps of two stones, it goes one at a time. The bet is for 3, rising to five, seven and “Chico fuera” With “lying down”, the difference is that if a team lies down and loses, the opposing team scores two points instead of three.

Envite on Tenerife: The scoring system is the same as the one described above. The only difference is that after each hand the cards are gathered up, the next hand being played with none of the previous cards on the table.

Canarian envite bag

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